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Danny Lee

About Danny Lee

Danny covers live events and takes a look at what the world is saying about the Pearl River Delta and the rest of Guangdong. He tweets at @JournoDannyAsia and on Weibo @JournoDanny and if you have any news to share email: [email protected]

Clearer skies for China Southern with new Boeing Dreamliner?

Posted: 06/12/2013 6:32 pm

The much delayed arrival of Boeing’s troubled Dreamliner at Baiyun Airport earlier this month has breathed some life into China Southern.

Make no mistake, this landing cements China Southern’s emergence as a serious player in the air. It’s the only global airline to operate both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 – two of the world’s most advanced aircraft.

The flight path to Guangzhou was bumpy, though.

Over in Seattle, a crack team worked round-the-clock to fix the many problems which plagued the plane, which originally forced a worldwide grounding of the 787 fleet.

At last, and after many apologies from Boeing, one of China Southern’s top lieutenants was delighted to be handed control of his “baby.”

The 787 is tipped to fly to Paris after it serves domestic routes for the next three months. Auckland, London and Vancouver are next in the pipeline as are nine more Dreamliners.

Flying to major cities in Europe and the Americas is now affordable with the fuel-efficient 787, potentially bringing unsustainable losses from international operations to an end.

Here’s a line from my previous aviation update:

The combined popularity of Asia’s largest airline and the allure of Australia means that all services Down Under are turning a profit. It’s a rare bright spot, with most international routes deep in the red as a result of aggressive expansion.

Transiting should be a big part of a refreshed strategy as increasing number of passengers are using the Canton Route to fly between Europe and Australia. Aside from being cheaper, the 72-hour visa free policy gives another reason to fly China Southern.

Getting approval to launch the service overseas was hard to come by, however. Beijing’s iron fist has ruled over Guangzhou’s flying ambition for years.

With the regulator’s refusal to approve international flights, the A380′s entry into China has been as painful as childbirth. It ensured that China Southern couldn’t fly its flagship plane outside of Chinese airspace.

Since its inception, the A380 has lost CSA RMB400 million (US$62.5 million) up to March 2013, according to a report in National Business Daily. Given the losses generated by international operations, the red ink from the A380 hurts.

Only now, at long last, is it able to launch flights to Los Angeles and Sydney.

China Southern’s first quarter earnings saw an 82 per cent slump in net profit to RMB57 million (US$9.1 million).

Photos: Byeangel/Flickr and Noel Jones


Bikini babes gather for scantily-clad photo stunt at Guangzhou water park

Posted: 05/7/2013 7:00 am

Chimelong Water Park has unleashed its weapon of choice for the summer: an army of sexy, scantily-clad bikini babes.

Thousands of women donned their best poolside outfits to form a snake-like 2013 as Chimelong gears up for another busy summer season.

The park’s mass appeal, particularly with parents, means its advert might not go down well with some. Although dads might be okay with it.

As temperatures in this part of the world can easy top the high 30s, with some added humidity, we’ll be revealing our best torsos in the months ahead.

Check out more of the photos below:


China Southern upgrades GZ-Sydney to superjumbo on cheap Canton Route

Posted: 05/6/2013 8:53 am

China Southern Airlines’ (CSA) flagship A380 superjumbo is set to land in Sydney later this October underlining Australia’s importance as a key tourism and trading partner to Beijing.

Starting October 27, flight CZ325/326 will shuttle passengers between Guangzhou and Sydney, boosting the ‘Canton Route’ as the cheapest way to fly between the Australia and Europe.

With 41 per cent more capacity, according to CAPA data, it will increase the number of cheap tickets, especially at the front and top of the plane: there will be 52 more business class seats and four more in first class to fill.

Travelers won’t be able to fly all the way to London on the A380, however. Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are the only full-service carriers to fly all the way with the superjumbo.

CSA plans to put Boeing’s troubled Dreamliner on its European destinations – Amsterdam, London, Moscow and Paris – as soon as the first of 10 deliveries arrive.

Travelers en-route to Australia and Europe will be able to take advantage of Guangzhou’s soon-to-be implemented 72-hour visa free policy, potentially boosting Guangdong’s image to tourists.

People are packing their bags for Down Under in droves. Some 386,000 passengers flew with CSA in 2012, 56 per cent more than in 2011, according to Xinhua.

China’s biggest airline is proving a popular choice with the best connections to Australia.

The Guangzhou-based airline already flies twice-a-day to Sydney, and 30 return flights a week to Australia from its Baiyun hub, doubling the number of services operated three years-ago.

CSA has ambitious plans to operate 55 weekly return flights to Australia and New Zealand by 2015.

The combined popularity of Asia’s largest airline and the allure of Australia means that all services Down Under are turning a profit.  It’s a rare bright spot, with most international routes deep in the red as a result of aggressive expansion.

Outside of China, the A380 only flies to Los Angeles. Regulatory hold-ups have restricted the majority of the five planes worth US$389 million each to Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The latest earnings by CSA show an 82 per cent slump in first quarter net profit to RMB57 million (US$9.1 million).

Photos by Danny Lee and Noel Jones


Watch: All-out brawl at Guangzhou South Railway Station

Posted: 05/3/2013 10:36 am

Here is a spectacular attempt at a very public cat fight at Guangzhou South Railway Station.

At least a dozen passengers and railway staff became embroiled in a brawl. In the video, people throw themselves at one and another, falling over flying feet and fists, outside the security check-in zone. So far it’s not clear who came out on top in this dispute, or even what caused it.

With millions of people on the move in China every day, the public transport experience is has become ridden with tension and stress. There have been notable and sporadic outbreaks of travel tantrums over recent months.

Remember Yan Linkun, the suspended CPPCC committee member and deputy chairman of state-owned Yunnan Mining Corporation, who teamed up with his wife to smash gate 38 at Kunming Airport?

Just like in this new case, he was recorded on a mobile phone, seen ripping and throwing whatever he could find after he missed his flight.

More recently, a China Southern Airlines gate agent was snapped lying on the floor at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, covering his face after being attacked by an irate passenger over the late arrival of a flight.

There seems to be a lack of travel etiquette on the roads, rails and runways.

Kicking-off in Kunming Airport

Guangzhou Baiyun Airport incident

H/T: Shanghaiist


Chickens test positive for bird flu in Dongguan

Posted: 04/29/2013 6:17 pm

It appears a particular strain of bird flu has arrived in Dongguan.

Officials in the city have moved swiftly to prevent a spread of the H7 virus after a batch of chickens tested positive for the strain.

They were keen to stress the H7 virus is not H7N9, which is a sub-group that has been spreading in China. This particular strain was discovered during routine tests on chickens in the city’s wholesale poultry market.

Here’s what Luo Qifang, deputy director of the city’s Bureau of Agriculture, said according to SCMP.

We ordered the closure and sterilisation of local poultry markets on Friday after cases were reported in Hunan and Jiangxi.

It’s the first trace of the virus strain reaching Guangdong. The number of infected people nationwide has reached 124, including 23 deaths. It has spread as far as Taiwan.

The decision to order a cull comes after Chinese premier Li Keqiang made a visit to the headquarters of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing.

He urged the public to be on alert for any fresh developments in H7N9, including what officials fear is mutation that’s easily transmissible between humans.

Here’s what he told reporters, as retold by SCMP:

It’s a new bird flu virus, and we are still far from getting all of the information about it … meanwhile, we should try our best to reduce fatalities and release true data and information to the public.

Little is still known about the effects H7N9 has to humans.

The World Health Organisation are still investigating what’s causing the transmission but say there’s no indication that H7N9 passes through humans or with animals.

Image: SCMP


Watch: No toilet, no problem: Lady poops in Shenzhen metro lift, man keeps a look-out

Posted: 04/24/2013 3:51 pm

A leaked video has found its way online after a lady in Shenzhen is caught on camera for pooping in a lift on the Shenzhen metro in a very unladylike manner.

The incident took place on April 22 in the middle of the afternoon, on a typical day, with travelers walking by in the background.

The man and woman duo work seamlessly as a team, as he keeps a lookout for any unsuspecting people who stumble across their act to ward off any embarrassment.

The woman makes a mess inside the lift, leaving it for a cleaner to deal with.

Some eagle-eyed netizens have taken to Weibo in the past to publicly name and shame those who have no regard for themselves or others around them.

A similar incident happened around two months ago on the Guangzhou metro when a high-school teen was happily using a trash can to empty his bowels without objection by the staff in the station.

Last November a boy was caught short on the train, and crouched down beside the door to relieve his bowel while his dad stood by.

However, in more recent times, we’ve had a mother letting her son poo in the middle of the airport terminal in Taiwan, and in February, a child was having a poo in the middle of an airplane aisle mid-air.

What do all of these incidents have in common? They are all related to transit. Perhaps this is symbolic of what China thinks of its subway, rail, and airplane services.

(h/t Shanghaiist)


Look out Guan Tianlang, another PRD golfer is hot on your tail — and he’s even younger

Posted: 04/21/2013 3:07 pm

Guan Tianlang wowed golfing fans by becoming the youngest person ever to make the cut at the US Masters in Augusta, Georgia last week.

But no sooner as the 14-year-old from Guangzhou came bursting onto the scene, proving that he’s not an inexperienced amateur, his impressive feat may soon be eclipsed by his contemporary Ye Wocheng from Dongguan.

Incredibly, at only twelve, Ye is the youngest person to qualify for a European Tour event after bagging a place at the Volvo China Open which tees off on May 2.

The Hillview Club member follows in the well-worn footsteps of Guan, who teed off at the same event in Tianjin last year at the age of 13 and 173 days.

A modest Ye, said: “Obviously I would love to win my own national open championship, the Volvo China Open, but I know the challenge is getting ever-greater as our home-grown talent is improving all the time.”

12-year-old Ye Wocheng

The Volvo China Open is headed by a strong line-up, featuring Britain’s Paul Casey, Denmark’s Thomas Björn and Ireland’s Paul McGinley.

2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, said: “I’m especially looking forward to seeing how young Ye Wocheng gets on, and I know that there are plenty of other youngsters who are soon going to be household names.”

There’s either something in the PRD’s waters or there’s greens aplenty in Guangdong to practice golf.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear a new set of young sporting talent is bursting onto the scene that will shape and define China’s sporting legacy.

Image: Volvo China Open


First class faces axe at China Southern following Xi Jinping’s austerity measures

Posted: 04/2/2013 12:42 pm

Xi Jinping’s message of austerity seems to have landed at the head office of China’s biggest airline.

The CEO and President of China Southern Airlines, Tan Wangeng, is thinking drastic: the days of first class travel are over.

Not smiling anymore…on the delayed Dreamliner

If the axe goes ahead, it will be highly symbolic of the leadership influence in the north, and would no doubt please Zhongnanhai. But aside from this, China Southern just hasn’t been able to make much money through first class travel.

According to CAPA, the aviation experts,
by reducing or pulling all top-notch seats, China Southern can install more business class seats and get a better yield per passenger.

If all first class seats were scrapped on its aircraft, including the flagship A380, it only amounts to 116 seats being removed across the fleet.

With the number of passengers choosing the Guangzhou-based airline rising, it cannot make enough money off them fast enough.

China Southern A330 first class

China Southern is not the only airline reexamining its offerings. These days business is the new first, and the likes of Emirates and Lufthansa have signaled their reservations about the future of first class travel. Even Cathay Pacific said it had “no opinion” on what it would do.

CAPA sums up the dilemma for China Southern:

China Southern’s long-haul capacity is increasingly comprised of transfer traffic, including notable long-haul to long-haul connections, and not point-to-point traffic that can better sustain first class on individual routes.

With long-haul connections, eliminating first class on one route could reduce demand on the corresponding service. Isolating certain connections to have or not have first class is difficult with a relatively small long-haul fleet, as China Southern has.

A380 first class


Guangdong presses ahead with carbon trading pilot

Posted: 04/1/2013 1:58 pm

China is currently the biggest polluter and largest consumer of energy in the world.

But Guangdong aims to do something about it, at least locally. By the end of this year, our province will issue the green light to a ‘cap-and-trade’ plan that will reduce emissions curb pollution.

The emissions trading scheme (ETS), as its known, will have a huge impact on companies which emit the most carbon. Those sending more than 20,000 tonnes into the air each year will be forced to join the scheme. The idea being once a company reaches its cap on carbon, it will have to go into the market to buy more credit as a penalty for polluting.

The Guangdong plan – which excludes Shenzhen as it has its own scheme in place – will target the cement, ceramics, non-ferrous metals, steel, paper-making, petrochemicals, plastics, power and textile industries.

Guangdong is not alone in trying to find ways to reduce emissions. There are six other ETS pilot programmes in place in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Hubei province. Each is trying to work out a formula that is suitable for local conditions.

Overall the scheme is being described as commendable. Some say China is embracing a green approach in a meaningful way, which involves testing what does and doesn’t work.

British Consul-General Alastair Morgan speaking

Alastair Morgan, the British Consul General in Guangzhou, told an audience at the Consulate’s Low Carbon Week event that while pollution and other potential crises are threats, the chance to affect change is an opportunity.

Guangdong is taking a careful approach to the pilot because it does not want them to fall at the first hurdle.

By the end of 2015, the first pilot will have finished. In 2016, a four-year improvement phase will come into effect to adjust and tweak problem areas. It is hoped by 2020, a full scheme will come into operation.

Emissions trading was a big talking point at the recent Low Carbon Week. International Emissions Trading Association’s (IETA) Honorary President Henry Derwent told the audience there is nothing to fear about the upcoming scheme.

In an interview with The Nanfang, he said that an “immoveable force”, in the form of the government and the cap, will force a new economic rationale for businesses.

“It’s clearly very difficult to persuade anybody if they are a consumer whether they are domestic or a business that their costs need to rise,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s going to love the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) for doing this and I’m sure there will be all sorts of interesting discussions at the highest levels of the state-owned enterprises and the NDRC.”

He added: “For the moment there seems to be enough pressure to work from the NDRC to the provincial DRCs to make all the companies involved accept that they are going to have to grind their teeth and get on with it.”

IETA’s Henry Derwent talking about ETS

However, concerns are being raised over the legal framework that underpins the pilots. Shenzhen is the only one to have such a framework in place to enforce penalties for non-compliance.

Some have raised concerned about the possibility of businesses moving outside of emissions trading zones in order to avoid getting involved.

ETS has been seen as controversial in the US, Europe and Australia, with companies grappling with rising costs on top of the prospect of cap-and-trade and a slow economy.

However, Carlos Lo Wing-hung, a professor from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a specialist in environmental management, believes the current government oversight of state-owned enterprises causes a conflict of interest.

“That trading scheme is still under a very administrative-driven system, because emissions trading is more market-orientated,” he said. “A government department that administers the whole scheme is asking which enterprise which should be in the scheme and the level of reductions they should perform – it is not normally the way to go about emissions trading, from the experience of America and Europe, it is not the way they operate.”

Beijing is on a tight deadline to meet its 2020 target to cut carbon intensity. Emissions trading is only one part of that, but it’s up to the pilots to prove it can be a success.


Top female sevens teams ready for big weekend rugby tournament in Guangzhou

Posted: 03/29/2013 1:06 pm

The ladies are out in force this weekend mere days after the men’s rugby sevens in Hong Kong. Guangzhou University Town Stadium is playing host to round three of the IRB (International Rugby Board) World Seven Series this weekend.

Twelve teams will go head-to-head with 35 short, sharp, fast-paced games over two days.

The Nanfang went down to a closed training session for the England Women Sevens to meet the team.

Tournament host China is pitted against England, the winner of the last round, in the first game. Locals are being urged to turn out for the home team, with tickets free of charge.

Not taking anything for granted, England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks said his team had a massive incentive to perform well with the Sevens World Cup taking place later in the year.

“Our players are obviously striving for the ultimate position really of being in the World Cup squad at the end of June, so it will be a really competitive side that’s for sure,” said the Welsh-born England Sevens Head Coach.

For China’s women, playing competitively on home soil in an internationally-sanctioned event is a first, while for the IRB, it’s the first tournament for women.

“For the first time this year, we’ve had an official IRB tournament which is great because it will improve the standard right the way through,” he said. “It gives a great opportunity to play on a world stage.”

In the run-up to the inaugural women’s World Sevens Series, Zengcheng played host to a widely-praised international invitational in October 2012, in which USA was triumphant.

Joining China and England this weekend are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Tunisia, and the United States.

New Zealand currently tops the standings with 34 points, with Australia at 30 points and England sitting in third with 28 points.

England Sevens winger and IRB Women’s Player of the Year Michaela Staniford (right) explained what the differences are with the longer format of the game.

“It’s a massively multi-skilled game, with seven instead of 15 people, and there’s a lot of running; a lot of ball skill, ball in hand but you’ve got the option to kick as well,” she said. “It’s very much an open, evasive game, because people think of rugby as a contact sport but in Sevens you’ve got massive spaces and you’re avoiding contact.

“It’s really exciting, it’s a quick turnaround and it’s often high scoring, and you get to see a lot of athleticism and skill on show and it’s quite easy on the eye to watch and it’s fun and exciting,” she added.

The Women’s Sevens are being used as a staging post to reach out to countries where rugby is less recognised.

So far, the tournament has travelled to Dubai and Houston, Texas, with the next round in Amsterdam.

Mr Maddocks reckons if China can pull off a small-scale event, then the country could be taken seriously as a potential Rugby World Cup host.

“At the end of the day, China has held an Olympics so it’s more than capable,” he said.

The sevens game is set to be a permanent feature with the format slated for the 2016 Summer Olympics, while the shorter game is already a highly-popular fixture in Hong Kong’s sporting calender.

Free of charge

1. 30 Mar 2013 – 10:00 England 0 – 0 China Pool C
2. 30 Mar 2013 – 10:22 United States 0 – 0 Fiji Pool C
3. 30 Mar 2013 – 10:44 New Zealand 0 – 0 Brazil Pool A
4. 30 Mar 2013 – 11:06 Netherlands 0 – 0 Tunisia Pool A
5. 30 Mar 2013 – 11:28 Australia 0 – 0 Japan Pool B
6. 30 Mar 2013 – 11:50 Canada 0 – 0 Ireland Pool B
7. 30 Mar 2013 – 12:22 England 0 – 0 Fiji Pool C
8. 30 Mar 2013 – 12:44 United States 0 – 0 China Pool C
9. 30 Mar 2013 – 13:06 New Zealand 0 – 0 Tunisia Pool A
10. 30 Mar 2013 – 13:28 Netherlands 0 – 0 Brazil Pool A
11. 30 Mar 2013 – 13:50 Australia 0 – 0 Ireland Pool B
12. 30 Mar 2013 – 14:12 Canada 0 – 0 Japan Pool B
13. 30 Mar 2013 – 15:04 England 0 – 0 United States Pool C
14. 30 Mar 2013 – 15:26 China 0 – 0 Fiji Pool C
15. 30 Mar 2013 – 15:48 New Zealand 0 – 0 Netherlands Pool A
16. 30 Mar 2013 – 16:10 Brazil 0 – 0 Tunisia Pool A
17. 30 Mar 2013 – 16:32 Australia 0 – 0 Canada Pool B
18. 30 Mar 2013 – 16:54 Japan 0 – 0 Ireland Pool B
19. 31 Mar 2013 – 10:00 (1) Best 1st 0 – 0 (8) 2nd Best 3rd QF Cup
20. 31 Mar 2013 – 10:22 (4) Best 2nd 0 – 0 (5) 2nd Best 2nd QF Cup
21. 31 Mar 2013 – 10:44 (3) 3rd Best 1st 0 – 0 (6) 3rd Best 2nd QF Cup
22. 31 Mar 2013 – 11:06 (2) 2nd Best 1st 0 – 0 (7) Best 3rd QF Cup
23. 31 Mar 2013 – 11:28 (9) 3rd Best 3rd 0 – 0 (12) 3rd Best 4th SF Bowl
24. 31 Mar 2013 – 11:50 (10) Best 4th 0 – 0 (11) 2nd Best 4th SF Bowl
25. 31 Mar 2013 – 13:06 Loser Game 19 0 – 0 Loser Game 20 SF Plate
26. 31 Mar 2013 – 13:28 Loser Game 21 0 – 0 Loser Game 22 SF Plate
27. 31 Mar 2013 – 13:50 Winner Game 19 0 – 0 Winner Game 20 SF Cup
28. 31 Mar 2013 – 14:12 Winner Game 21 0 – 0 Winner Game 22 SF Cup
29. 31 Mar 2013 – 14:34 Loser Game 23 0 – 0 Loser Game 24 11th / 12th
30. 31 Mar 2013 – 14:56 Winner Game 23 0 – 0 Winner Game 24 Final Bowl
31. 31 Mar 2013 – 15:56 Loser Game 25 0 – 0 Loser Game 26 7th / 8th
32. 31 Mar 2013 – 16:18 Winner Game 25 0 – 0 Winner Game 26 Final Plate
33. 31 Mar 2013 – 16:48 Loser Game 27 0 – 0 Loser Game 28 3rd / 4th
34. 31 Mar 2013 – 17:10 Winner Game 27 0 – 0 Winner Game 28 Final Cup

Metro Line 4: Higher Education Mega Centre North: Exit C – located on the exit map.
Just a few minutes walk south, up a slight hill, crossing the road twice to get to the stadium.

Check out photos of England and Canada preparing for competition in our newest Nanfang Studio.

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